A glade restoration workshop will be held Sept. 25 near Calico Rock. The workshop will include glade restoration sites completed by the U.S. Forest Service and private landowners.
Glades, or barrens, are found throughout the Ozarks and occasionally throughout Arkansas on steep south and west facing slopes. Glades also occur on hill tops. These are locally known as balds. Glades characteristically have shallow, rocky soils with exposed bedrock and an abundance of wildflowers and native grasses with only a few trees and shrubs. Periodic fires, native herbivores and local conditions of topography, bedrock and soil greatly influence glade development.
Drought tolerant forbs and grasses are common on glades. A few plant species, such as bladderpod, glade coneflower and bottlebrush blazing star are restricted to glade communities. Glades support a variety of different wildlife species including tarantula, eastern collard lizard, painted bunting, and prairie warbler. Wild turkey, bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer also occur on glades.
Typically glades are surrounded by a savanna or open woodland. A savanna is an area of widely scattered trees with a lush understory of native grasses and wildflowers. Post, chinquapin, blackjack, and black oak and shortleaf pine are a few tree species found on upland savannas and woodlands near glades. Trees found near glades are often stunted and express poor development because of shallow droughty soils and poor growing conditions.
Many glades have been degraded by fire suppression, overgrazing, the spread of undesirable vegetation such as serecia lespedeza, and even plant and rock collectors. These desert-like communities are sensitive to disturbances caused by overgrazing and plant and rock collectors. Improper management or disturbances from rock and plant collectors will quickly erode the thin soils and destroy habitat for reptiles and other animals. Historically, periodic fire kept woody encroachment under control; however, with fire suppression glades and the surrounding woodland communities were engulfed by eastern red cedar and other woody vegetation. Many large cedar thickets seen on Ozark hillsides today are actually degraded glade and woodland communities where on small, isolated openings native grasses and wildflowers can still be found.
Glade restoration often begins with the removal of undesirable woody vegetation – primarily eastern red cedar. Woody vegetation should also be removed from the surrounding savanna or woodland doe increasing habitat for this suite of plant and wildlife species. In some cases undesirable herbaceous vegetation, such as tall fescue or serecia lespedeza, may be present. If possible, spray these areas before cutting down the woody vegetation. Otherwise it will be difficult, if not impossible, to spray the vegetation with all the downed trees. If serecia lespedeza is present, seek professional advice from an AGFC Private Lands Biologist or Forester for treatment recommendations. Prescribed fire is essential to maintaining a glade. Without it, woody vegetation will overtake the area.
Prescribed burns should be conducted on a 3-5 year rotation, preferably sometime between November and February. A biologist may recommend more frequent burning to control invading woody vegetation or burning at another time of the year. Because of the steep terrain and difficultly in constructing firebreaks, the entire glade and woodland can be burned as one unit.
Landowners interested in attending the workshop will meet at the New Hope Christian Fellowship Church at Intersection of Culp Road and Arkansas Highway 5 approximately 2 miles South of Calico Rock. The program will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch is provided, but those attending must register by Sept. 24.
Click on the following link: http://gladeworkshop.eventbrite.com to register or call 870-425-3527 extension 3 or call 877-297-4331 to register by phone.
For more information on establishing and maintaining land for wildlife habitat improvement and programs to help, contact an AGFC private lands biologist at: Fort Smith, 877-478-1043; Harrison, 870-741-8600 ext. 114; Hope, 877-777-5580; Calico Rock, 877-297-4331; Little Rock, 877-470-3650; Brinkley, 877-734-4581; Jonesboro, 877-972-5438 and Monticello, 877-367-3559 or check out http://www.agfc.com/habitat.